Curls, swirls: Elegance goes right to women's heads

November 23, 1995|By Jean Patteson | Jean Patteson,ORLANDO SENTINEL

Glamour has returned to hairstyling -- and the timing couldn't be better.

With the first holiday parties a couple of weeks away, women are looking for dramatically different hairdos to complement their special-occasion outfits. What could be more fitting than an elegant "up 'do"?

This is not the big-hair glamour of the 1980s. Rather, it's the simple, chic glamour of the 1950s and '60s, said Candi Ekstrom, creative dirctor for the National Cosmetology Association and owner of a hair salon in Florida.

"Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly are the inspiration. Hair is swept back and up into big curls on top of the head. The difference is that hair is not as constructed as in the '60s, not as teased and sprayed. It's softer, looser and more touchable," Ms. Ekstrom said.

The look complements the elegant simplicity of this holiday season's fashions, which also hint at the Hepburn-Kelly glory days, she added.

Even teen-agers are putting up their hair for special occasions such as homecoming dances. "Only they also want chunky bangs, like in [the TV show] 'Friends,' " Ms. Ekstrom said.

Women with short hair are also getting in on the look. Some style their hair close to their heads at the sides and back but shape it into loose curls on top. Others top their slicked-back hair with curly hairpieces.

The use of hairpieces is popular among African-American women, said Freddie Maxwell, an Orlando, Fla., salon owner.

"We're doing a lot of up 'dos using hairpieces. I can take short hair, bring it up and blend it in with a hairpiece. The younger ladies are wearing them for every day, not just for special occasions," Ms. Maxwell said.

Even women with braids are asking to have their hair pulled up into twists and French rolls, she said.

For a finishing touch of glamour, she often adds a -- of sparkle spray in a color to match a woman's party dress.

Because "fashion this fall is more classic and feminine, so are hairstyles," said Gary Lambert, owner of Gary Lambert Salon in Winter Park, Fla.

"You're not going to wear a simple little [Audrey] Hepburn-style dress, then do something wild and funky with your hair," Mr. Lambert said.

Besides looking polished and feminine, the upswept styles are quick, easy and can be achieved with little or no teasing, curling or spraying, Mr. Lambert said. Styling takes about 30 minutes and costs about $25 for shorter hair, about $45 for longer hair.

Women with a knack for doing their own hair can duplicate these styles at home quite easily. Also available at accessories counters and specialty stores are simple, inexpensive styling devices that produce sleek, elegant chignons, twists and topknots with a minimum of effort. They cost about $35 and usually come with an instruction booklet and video tape.

To further dress up an evening 'do, Mr. Lambert suggests adding sparkly hair ornaments -- from rhinestone-studded barrettes to faux-pearl pins and hair sticks, to mini-tiaras.

These touches of hairstyling extravagance are a whimsical counterpoint to the understated elegance of the holiday season's latest fashions.

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